Tough Stuff

8 simple ways to be kind on 9/11 and every day

It’s been 20 years since the 9/11 attacks. Many of you are probably too young to remember what happened on September 11, 2001—and most of you weren’t even born yet. Regardless, this day is a sad day for many. Sometimes the world seems too sad and you can feel kind of helpless. With issues so big and so impactful, you might wonder how you can do anything that would make any difference. But don't forget about the power of kindness. You can impact people’s lives in small but important ways every day just by how you treat them.

1. Start a conversation when waiting in line
When you’re waiting in line to get lunch, maybe you just chat with your friends or look at your phone. But waiting in line is a great opportunity to talk to someone new. Next time you’re waiting, instead of grabbing your phone and scrolling through Instagram, start a friendly conversation with the person in front of or behind you.

2. Use social media to spread positive messages
Social media is fun—but it can also be full of so much negativity. You know who can help stop that negativity? YOU. Start a trend: use social media to spread positive messages, whether that means leaving nice comments on photos on Insta, sending positive messages, sharing empowering articles and memes or standing up for someone when you see they’re being bullied.

3. Volunteer at an organization in your community
Think of the causes you really care about. Chances are, there’s an organization or group (or even another person) in your community with the same passions as you. Bad news and tragic events rightfully make us sad, but those feelings can also motivate you to help make a positive change.

4. Give compliments
Simple compliments can sometimes make someone’s day.

5. Write a letter to someone you care about
You probably spend more time sending messages on social media than mailing letters, but taking the time to send someone a letter shows a whole lot of thought and effort. A relative of yours who still loves receiving mail and doesn’t really use social media might especially appreciate receiving a letter and learning what you’ve been up to.

6. Stick up for others
If you see someone being treated unfairly, speak up. When people are being bullied or targeted by someone, show them they are not alone and they have support.

7. Be encouraging in your classes 
Classes can be competitive sometimes. Instead of competing with your classmates, encourage them. Congratulate the girl who got an awesome grade on her science test. Cheer on your classmates as they run the mile in gym class. It's easier than you think.

8. Say “thank you”
Let people know that you appreciate them, whether you’re interacting with a waiter at a restaurant or someone who seriously helped you when you were struggling. You might take it for granted when people do simple kind things for you sometimes, like holding the door for you, but a simple “thank you" can go a long way.

How do you spread kindness? Tell us on Twitter @girlslifemag!


by Paige Sheffield | 9/11/2021